The Roots of Vice and Virtue
That we may understand better the immensity of the soul, in particular of the
will, we must now speak of vices and virtues, those roots which penetrate into
the soul, either for our loss or for our salvation.
Virtue makes man perfect, inclines him to a good end, makes of him not only
a good painter, a good sculptor, a good mathematician, but a good man. Vice
is an evil habitude, that of acting contrary to right reason. It deforms man
entire in the conduct of his life, because it taints the will and inclines it
to an evil end. Vice makes of a man not a bad painter, a bad sculptor, but a
bad man, a criminal. This condition begins at times even in children of fourteen
or fifteen years. All vices have one root in common, namely, the disordered
love of self, opposed to the love of good, and especially of the sovereign good
which is God. This evil root tends to sink itself ever more deeply into the
will, and from this root there is born an evil tree. The trunk of this tree
is egoism, of which the central and principal branch, the continuation of the
trunk, is pride, of which the lateral branches are the concupiscence of the
flesh and concupiscence of the eyes. Thus St. John.
The branches of this wicked tree have numerous sub-branches which are called
From concupiscence of the flesh is born gluttony and luxury. From concupiscence
of the eyes, that is, immoderate desire of external goods, is born avarice,
and then perfidy, fraud, cheating, and hardening of the heart. From the pride
of life are born vainglory and ambition, disgust for spiritual things, forgetfulness
of God, envy, anger, injuries to neighbor.
The capital sins conduct man to others that are still more grave, to sins against
the theological virtues. They lead to blasphemy, opposed to confession of the
faith, to despair, opposed to hope, to the hate of God and neighbor, opposed
Some of these vices in the most wicked men have roots that are very deep, which
manifest in their own sad manner the immensity of the soul. We know those words
of St. Augustine: "Two loves have built two cities: the love of self extending
to the scorn of God has made the city of Babylon, that is, the city of the world,
the city of immorality, whereas the love of God even to the scorn of self has
made the city of God." Just as man does not arrive all at once at sanctity,
so too he does not arrive at once at complete perversity. Inordinate love of
self, when it becomes dominating, puts forth roots more and more deep, to be
seen in certain souls which are on the road to perdition. Their voice often
has a sharp and piercing sound. They close their eyes to the divine light which
alone could illumine and deliver them. At times they combat the truth, although
it be evident. This is one of the forms of the sins against the Holy Spirit,
impugnatio veritatis agnitae. After a miraculous healing obtained by St. Peter
in the name of Jesus, the members of the Sanhedrin said: "What shall we
do to these men? For indeed a miracle hath been done by them, known to all the
inhabitants of Jerusalem. It is manifest, and we cannot deny it; but that it
maybe no farther spread among the people, let us threaten them that they speak
no more in this name to any man." Thus they forbade Peter and John to speak
further in this name to anyone. To which these two replied: "If it be just
in the sight of God, to hear you rather than God, judge ye. For we cannot but
speak the things which we have seen and heard." The measureless depths
of the human soul reveal themselves in this unregulated love of self, which
rises at times to the scorn and hate of God. This malice is accompanied by a
hate which is inveterate and incomprehensible, even against their greatest benefactors.
Certain frightening perversities, as, for instance, those of Nero and other
persecutors, would not yield even to the constancy and goodness that radiated
from the suffering martyrs.
Now this unbelievable degree of malice manifests by contrast the grandeur
of God and of the saints. The Lord permits malice and persecution in order to
let the sanctity of the martyrs shine forth the more brightly. In Spain, in
I 936, during the Communist persecution, the faithful would come to their priest
and say: "How is it that God permits such atrocities?" And the priest
would reply: "Without persecution there can be no martyrs, and martyrs
are the glory of the Church." The faithful understood and were comforted.
The immensity of the human soul appears still more in those great virtues which
are rooted in it, and which could grow still greater if the time of temptation
and merit were not a mere prelude to eternal life.
In virtues we distinguish the acquired virtues, which arise by repetition of
natural acts, from infused virtues, which are supernatural virtues that are
received at baptism, and that grow in us by means of the sacraments, by Holy
Communion, and by our merits.
But even acquired virtues manifest the depths of the soul. Temperance and courage
send the light of right reason down into our sensibility, there to resist temptations,
at times very vivid, of impurity and laxity. Similarly the acquired virtue of
justice reveals the grandeur of the human soul, particularly when, for the common
good of society, it establishes and observes laws demanding great sacrifices,
even those of life. We need only recall the unjustly accused Socrates, whose
reverence for the laws of his land made him refuse to escape from prison.
But the infused virtues manifest still more clearly the grandeur of the soul.
They proceed from sanctifying grace, which is received in the very essence of
the soul as a divine root. Grace communicates to us a participation in the intimate
life of God, the very vitality of God. Sanctifying grace is in truth the seed
life, semen gloriae; when it is widely expanded and developed, it enables
us to see immediately God as He sees Himself, and to love Him as He loves Himself.
Thus it becomes in us a germination of eternal life. If the germination of grain
gives thirty or sixty or even a hundred per cent, what will be in the supernatural
order the germination of eternal life?
From this divine root, which is sanctifying grace, there flows into our intelligence
infused faith, and into our will infused hope and infused charity. And from
these virtues derive the infused virtues of Christian prudence, of justice,
of religion, of courage, of chastity, of humility, of sweetness, of patience,
and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The infused virtues, flowing from sanctifying grace, give to our faculties
the power of acting supernaturally in order to merit eternal life. The seven
gifts of the Holy Spirit, which accompany these infused virtues, render us docile
to the inspirations of the inner master. He alone draws forth from our faculties,
even from our sense faculties, harmonies that are not only natural, but supernatural,
harmonies that we hear especially in the lives of the saints. Sanctifying grace
gives us an entirely new spiritual organism.
Taken from Life
Everlasting by TAN Books &
Table of Contents
FIRST PART: SOUL IMMENSITY IN OUR PRESENT LIFE
2. Will and Intellect
3. Soul Immensity and Beatific Vision
4. The Source of Liberty
5. The Roots of Vice and Virtue
6. Purgatory Before Death - The Night of the Soul
SECOND PART: DEATH AND JUDGMENT
7. Final Impenitence
8. The Grace of a Happy Death - The Gift of Perseverence
9. Immutability after Death
10. The Particular Judgment
11. The Last Judgment
12. Knowledge in the Separated Soul
THIRD PART: HELL
13. The Scriptures Concerning Hell
14. Theological Reasons
15. Eternal Hell and Divine Providence
16. The Pain of Loss
17. The Pain of Sense
18. Degrees of Pain
19. Hell and Our Own Age
FOURTH PART: PURGATORY
20. Teaching of the Church
21. Arguments and Appropriateness
22. Demonstrative Arguments
23. Pugatory's Chief Pain
24. The Pain of Sense
25. Their State of Soul
26. Charity for the Poor Souls
30. Beatific Joy
FIFTH PART: HEAVEN
27. The Existence of Heaven
28. The Nature of Eternal Beatitude
29. The Sublimity of the Beatific Vision
31. Accidental Beatitude
32. The Number of the Elect
Other pages discussing Catholic
doctrine and history:
- Our Lord Jesus Christ
- The Sacred Heart
of Jesus - Learn all about this beautiful devotion to Our Lord.
- The Shroud of Our Lord -
Discusses the convroversy over the Shroud of Turin - is it real or a forgery? Evidence points to its authenticity.
- Infinite Mercy of Jesus - Learn how
the Heart of Jesus has a strong desire to love and pardon sinners who sincerely return to Him.
- The Blessed Virgin Mary
- The Blessed Virgin Mary
- Immaculate, pure, and our most powerful intercessor after Our Lord
- The Holy Slavery
- To Jesus, through Mary -- the same way Jesus came to us (through His Mother)
- Edifying and Beautiful -
Learn about God's Providence in regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary, her graces and merits, the details of her life!
- Our Lady of Fatima - Her predictions and warning for the future.
- Saints who Saw Mary
- Tells the story of 17 great Saints who saw and heard the Blessed Mother, whom they were so devoted to!
- History and Culture
- Wearing Pants Incites Men to Lust
- Learn how women's fashions have corrupted, how evil forces are behind most modern fashions, and much more! Includes practical advice.
- How to Run a Catholic Family
- Discusses how to bring the Catholic Faith into family life! How the family can best celebrate feast days, and make use of good Catholic customs.
- A TRUE History Book -
This premise of this history book: The coming of Jesus Christ was the most important event in history.
- Catholic History Workbook -
Fascinating; hard to put down! It makes more sense of History than secular books which explain things in a disjointed manner.
- Homeschooling Workbook -
With questions for every chapter of Christ in the Americas - multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/false, and more!
- Crisis in the Church
- Read about St. Athanasius - faithful and courageous, known as the "champion of orthodoxy". One of the 33 Doctors of the Church!
- St. Athanasius - The great defender of the Catholic Faith against Arianism
- Crisis in the Church - How the enemies of God plot to overthrow the Church from within.
- Revolution in the Church - How Vatican II and its aftermath caused a crisis in the Catholic Church.
- Freemasonry - Pope Leo XIII unmasks this evil society, and forbids all Catholics to join.
- Combination of ALL Heresies - Pope St. Pius X unmasks the Modernists, giving us their doctrine and methods!
- Vatican II - Impartially discusses what happened at Vatican II -- mostly quotes from the men that were there!
- Fascinating if true - A man's deathbed confession.
- St. Therese, the Little Flower
- St. Therese the Little Flower - Under obedience, she tells the story of her childhood, religious life, etc.
- Mother of St. Therese - Learn about the woman who raised 5 saintly daughters, all of which entered the religious life!
- Father of St. Therese - Learn about the man who let the holy family of Lisieux so well, that his 5 daughters entered a convent!
- From the Sister of St. Therese - In her biography, she writes many things not found in
Story of a Soul.
- Lives of the Saints
- Learned Mystic and Theologian -
St. John of the Cross suffered greatly, even prison, for the Carmelite Reform. Father of the Discalced Carmelites.
- Beautiful story of a young girl -
Anne de Guigne was clever and passionate, yet practiced humility and all the other virtues -- and she died at the age of 10.
- Refuge for Billions of Catholics -
Catholics have always prayed to these saints in their necessities. St. Blaise, St. Christopher, etc. Includes countless novenas!
- St. Anne - Grandmother of Our Lord -
According to Ven. Mary of Agreda, she possessed all the virtues, especially purity. Learn more about her!
- Young Italian Maiden -
Who suffered the Stigmata every Friday, and was pious from her youth. St. Gemma Galgani, called the "Gem of Christ"
- Heroic Chastity -
Read how St. Maria Goretti had to give up her life to preserve her purity! She is called the patroness of youth.
- All Glory to Almighty God -
Well documented cases of the miraculous taken from the lives of the Saints. Fascinating!
- Defeated Persian Sorcerers -
The glorious life of St. Jude Thaddeus, Apostle and cousin of Our Lord, as taken from ancient Catholic traditions.
- Angels and Devils -
Learn all that Scripture and Tradition teaches us about the pure spirits God created. Fascinating and enlightening!
- Life of Mary Magdalen - Learn fascinating details of her life that you didn't know before! From the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich.
- The Angel of the Judgment
- At a critical point in Church history, his preaching and miracles served as a warning of impending chastisement.
- Miracles All His Life -
The miraculous was very common in the life of St Gerard Majella, great saint and Patron of Expectant Mothers.
- Eyewitness to Gospel events -
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich saw so many biblical events in her visions. Be inspired and edified by her virtuous life!
- United with Jesus Christ -
She suffered for souls and for the Church, and received countless visions all her life. One man wrote down her visions for YOUR sake!
- Never a Moment Wasted
- this zealous missionary and client of Our Lady is a model for all Catholics. Read about his saintly life.
- She saw her Guardian Angel
- this innocent girl tells us the story of her saintly life -- beautiful, inspiring!
- Servants of Satan
Establish Paganism - Astrology, witchcraft, and countless systems of idolatry
set up after the Confusion of Tongues.
- Fervent Catholic Indians - Father De Smet was like an Apostle, suffering greatly to bring the True Religion to the Native American peoples.
- Classic Sermons for Lent - On the Last Things, aimed at moving you to serve God even more
faithfully. By St. Francis de Sales.
- Those Who Met St. Padre
Pio - Stories of conversions, miracles, etc. from those who met this living Crucifix. Recently canonized.
- Beat Up by the Devil
- This great Saint had prophetic visions in the form of dreams, and often physically struggled with the devil.
- Life of St Gertrude
- Our Lord appeared to her many times, and she was much loved by Him because of her purity.
- Jesus Dearly Loved Her
- Because of her love and confidence in him, her heart was His favorite place to dwell, after the Blessed Sacrament.
- The Dolorous Passion - Giving never before seen details of Our Lord's Passion! From
the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich.
- Braving the English
Torture - St. Margaret Clitherow was a wife and mother - and she kept the Faith even to martyrdom!
- Details of The Good Thief - Learn about his life with a gang of brigands, how he helped the
Holy Family, and much more.
- Classic Catholic Sermons - You won't fall asleep here! Sermons by a Doctor of the Church, filled with energy and the spirit of Faith.
- Miracles Taking Place Today - St. Philomena is famous for the number of miracles surrounding her shrine - here are some of them.
- Isabella of Spain - A holy Catholic queen, and a valiant defender of Christ's kingdom.
- St Anthony - the Wonder Worker - His life was filled with proofs that God was with him.
- St Vincent de Paul - famous for his charities, this great Saint was canonized only 77 years after his death!
- The Cure of Ars - Three of him could destroy the devil's kingdom! Read about his physical struggles with Satan.
- St. Rita - Nothing is impossible with God! Her life is an example for us all, especially to mothers.
- Sermons of St. Francis de Sales - Here he speaks all about the kinds of prayer.
Learn what (and what not) to do!
- St. Teresa of Avila - She founded many convents, which were to adhere to the strict observance of the Carmelite Rule.
- St. Elizabeth of Hungary - Known for her generosity to the poor
- Alexandrina - A victim soul who suffered the Passion on Fridays
- The Spiritual Life
- Jesus, Prisoner of Love
- Meditations on the most beautiful doctrine of the Catholic Faith - the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
- Spiritual Exercises
- Written by a great saint, these meditations have converted millions of souls.
- Manual of the Spiritual Life - Your duties as a penitent toward your confessor/spiritual director.
- Lessons from Calvary - 31 meditations on Our Lord's Passion that will help you to easily avoid sin.
- Finding Peace of Heart
- Only by knowing how to follow God's will, can a person be truly happy.
- Strategy for Getting to Heaven - We must learn how the devil works on us, how to avoid his snares, to win the "War for our Souls".
- How to Fight the Deadly Sins - Timeless advice on how to combat each of the Capital sins.
- A Manual for Confession -
How to benefit from the Sacrament of Penance: common pitfalls, scruples, how to make a good exam of conscience, and much more.
- Seven Deadly Sins -
Learn about the different forms of pride, avarice, lust, anger, envy, gluttony and sloth.
- How to Pray Well -
How we should pray to God - with confidence, perseverance, simplicity. Advice from St. Alphonsus Liguori!
- Marriage & Family
- How to Raise Good Catholic Children - With examples from the saints and wise and thoughtful commentary - a must-read for every parent!
- Haunted by Children She Aborted - Testimony from her own mouth: how she had 7 abortions, and how her life changed afterward.
- Catholic Doctrine on Marriage - Common sources of marital strife and how to avoid them, the differences between the sexes, periodic abstinence, and more.
- Your Labor of Love - The author talks about isolation, sufferings, the modern culture, and more.
- Spiritual Growth during Pregnancy - How expecting a child can bring a woman closer to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Includes much practical advice.
- St. Joseph
- St. Joseph - After Our Lady, the holiest mere man who ever lived
- Privileges of St. Joseph - Why St. Joseph receives so much honor in the Church
- Novenas to St. Joseph -
Universal Patron - Pray to St. Joseph for all of your needs - Jesus, now in Heaven, still listens to him as a father!
- The Last Things/Afterlife
- Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven - The Saints always thought about their last end, and so should we. Brings the reality of eternity before your eyes!
- Life Everlasting - Discusses death, judgment, heaven and hell; also the vices and virtues
- Beyond the Grave -
What we know about Purgatory from sacred history and the lives of the saints.
- Peaceful Rest or Almost Like Hell? - Discusses the two opposing Catholic viewpoints on the subject of Purgatory.
- Purgatory - Learn what the Catholic Church has always taught on this subject.
- What Will Hell be Like? - Discusses the sufferings of Hell in detail.
- Eternity of Hell - Including a story from a soul who was sent there!
- Catholic Doctrine and Dogma
- What is Sanctifying Grace? -
Learn all about the nature of Grace, what it does for us, how to increase it in our souls, and its importance.
- Catholic Dogma of Grace - God's grace vs. man's ability to merit for his actions.
- Sin and Forgiveness - True Catholic doctrine with quotes from Scripture and the Fathers.
- The Intellect of the Angels - What Catholic theology says about the angels.
- Simple Easy-to-Understand Catechism - For Catholics to better learn their faith, or to give to possible converts.
- Sodomy Condemned -
The Catholic Church has always condemned this unnatural vice - see proofs from the Magisterium, Church laws, Scripture, canons, and more!
- The Mass Keeps the World in Existence - and other lofty considerations; helps Catholics
appreciate the real value of the Mass.
- The Catholic Mass - Why it is so priceless; relates actual events which prove it!
- The Catholic Faith - Easy to read and follow, using the most solid Catholic doctrine. Very thorough.
- What Does The Bible Say About Marriage? - Find all Bible quotes about "Anger", for example, gathered into one page.
- Defending the Faith/Apologetics
- The REAL Luther - From the pens of Protestant historians, and Luther's own (foul) mouth -
learn about the real man.
- The Faith of our Fathers - A topic-by-topic explanation of what the Catholic Faith teaches. Great for apologetics!
- The Bible Explained - Why were all those various stories placed in the Bible for us to read? Here is why!
- How Christ Changed Society - Compare the ancient world with the world influenced by Christ.
- Scripture Alone for Salvation? - Even the Bible itself denies this! Read 21 compelling
reasons why Tradition is also necessary.
- The Bible is a Catholic book - Convincing arguments show clearly that criticism of the Catholic Church has no truthful basis! Excellent apologetics based on history.
- Defend Catholic Dogmas - Find rational arguments for what Catholics believe.
- Theory of Evolution
- Evolution Hoax Debunked -
A learned scientist discovers that there is no evidence FOR Evolution, but plenty AGAINST it!
- Proofs against Evolution -
Plenty of evidence against Evolution is out there, but it is often ignored by the media. Fascinating!
- Evolution is a
Fraud - So say countless biologists and scientists! Read more...
- King of Jerusalem
- Balwin IV of Jerusalem leads the Crusaders in this exciting novel.
- Exciting Adventures
- Tom Playfair and his friends at a Jesuit boarding school. Exciting, Catholic, fun!
- More Catholic Adventures
- written by Fr. Finn - Percy Wynn meets Tom Playfair and friends, and enters the boarding school (St. Maure's).
- Perpetual Motion Boy
- The Fr. Finn boarding school universe expands with Claude Lightfoot and other interesting characters.
- That Football Game
- written by Fr. Finn - Which is more important? English class, a math competition, or an upcoming football game?
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